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Upon the completion of the 4700 word "Funny Lines TK" yesterday, I rolled right into another short story today, "Nacho Cheese," whose genesis in my brain I detailed a number of entries back. Discounting the Dark March and Anglerfish stories--which were different, in terms of length, in terms of how they all belonged to each other, if you will--this is the first time in my career I've been composing new short stories on back-to-back days. I could have, of course, but I just never did. But all the same, I feel everything deepening and getting stronger, powers-wise. The ending of "TK" floors me, it was something even I never saw coming, and I created it and had those characters in my head for a long spell. I don't simply mean the narrative ending, but the formal invention, the new device which I've not seen anywhere else in fiction. And it just hit me as I was doing it. That I could do this. That this was a game-changer. A rule-changer.

After writing that opening section of "NC" today, I laid out what I think will be my class plan for the Buster Keaton seminars at the Coolidge. I have to get them the info by tomorrow. What they want you to do is go in chronological order. You can't go in completely chronological order, though, with Keaton, with this format. Each class is three hours. The middle two hours, give or take, is given over to screening. These films are not two hour films. I don't want to sap people's interests by trying to do everything Keaton, and centering near the end of the run of seminars on his talkies and what he was up to later in his life. I don't really want to do the Beckett film, for instance, because I don't think Keaton gave a toss about it. I think he was just doing it. In the history of art, certain artists go on runs. You know what I mean by this. The Beatles went on a run, really, for their whole career. Hitchcock went on a run between 1954 and 1963. The Kinks had that run from Face to Face to Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). And Keaton had his run throughout the twenties. The features he made during that decade might be tantamount to the greatest run any director has had. I want to keep the focus on them, and use the shorts to build up to the first feature masterpiece, and then to supplement other works as we go. We'll include one 1930s talkie that pairs well with the themes of that given class, and I think the Keaton Route 66 episode is a good way to cap the final class, because it gives an idea of what he was up to at the end, while also knitting up with what he did before, somewhat. So here's what I'm thinking:

Class 1:

Hard Luck (1921)

The Playhouse (1921)

Our Hospitality (1923)

Class 2:

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

The Navigator (1924)

Class 3:

The Boat (1921)

The General (1926)

Class 4:

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Allez Oop (1934)

Class 5:

The Cameraman (1928)

Route 66 episode "Journey to Ninevah" (1962)

I will mull a little more before sending, but I think that will be good. What could you leave out? The features from the 1920s are all apex-examples of silent film art that transcend silent film. Those are the very best Keaton pictures. I would write a book about any of them, for instance, for that BFI series, though they already did The General.


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